[Malaysia] Integrated Modelling of Landslides due to Hydrometeorological Impacts in Langat Basin, Peninsular Malaysia (iModelLandslides)

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

In recent years, Malaysia has experienced a number of landslide disasters resulting from extreme tropical rainfall. Landslides have occurred in several parts of Malaysia, such as Paya Terubong (Penang), Highland Towers (Kuala Lumpur), Hulu Langat and Pos Dipang (Perak). These landslides cost millions of pounds of property loss and hundreds of lives. On 21 October 2017, 11 workers were killed in a landslide at a construction site on Malaysia's Penang Island. The October 2002 landslide in Kuala Lumpur which completely destroyed several houses and killed six members of a family and the 2011 Hulu Langat landslide, where 15 children and a caretaker in an orphanage were killed are still in the public's memory. Population increase and subsequent urbanization have demanded the development of new residential and areas and roads in mountainous areas where there is an increased risk of slope failures. Malaysia's population is projected to rise to 41.5 million by 2040, up from 28.6 million in 2010.
This proposal will produce a qualitative hazard map delineating areas prone to landslides in the Langat River Basin, Peninsular Malaysia. The hazard map will identify landslide-prone areas, including expected changes in landslide susceptibility as a result of climate change. Langat River Basin is most urbanized river basin in Malaysia. Important conurbations include towns such as Cheras, Kajang, Bangi and Putrajaya (the administrative capital of Malaysia). The basin has an area of about 2350 km2. The area has been experiencing numerous landslides disasters and has been identified by the Malaysia Public Work Department in its National Slope Master Plan Study as landslide-prone area.
The proposal will involve close collaboration with the Public Works Department and the National Disaster Management Agency in Malaysia and several industrial partners to ensure the adaptation of the proposed map in practice.

Planned Impact

There are many recent cases of landslides in Malaysia which are attributed to soil instability due to change of the soil water content as a result of monsoonal rainfall. The Highland Tower collapse in 1993, which claimed 48 lives, and the 2011 Hulu Langat landslide, where 15 children and a caretaker in an orphanage were killed, are well-known examples. 600 lives have been lost since 1973 as a result of failures landslides in Malaysia [1]. The majority of failure cases are associated with soil instability triggered by monsoon rainfall. Malaysia's economy depends on its transportation network. The Public Works Department in Malaysia has estimated that one-third of slopes along the federal motorways are at risk. Collapses of slopes often cause delay and disturbance on highways. As an example, the Bukit Lanjan landslide near Kuala Lumpur in 2003 had resulted in a six-month highway closure. Population increase and subsequent urbanization have demanded the development of new residential and areas and roads in mountainous areas where there is an increased risk of slope failures. This research project will lead to economic, social and environmental impacts as follows:

a) This proposal will produce a qualitative hazard map delineating areas prone to landslides in the Langat River Basin, Peninsular Malaysia. The hazard map will identify landslide-prone areas, including expected changes in landslide susceptibility as a result of climate change.
b) This project will minimize the extent of the damages from landslides by producing a long-term early warning system predicting the mass movements in the landslide-prone areas would have been in place.
c) The qualitative map will form a basis for loss and damage assessment and has potential to assist in landslide hazard mitigation. The map will help in infrastructure development planning taking into consideration climate change impact.
d) The map will help in identification vulnerable people and therefore help in pre- and post-disaster interventions. The output of the research can also be used as part of a disaster relief effort for example identifies road routes most likely to be open.
e) The obtained outputs will raise the awareness of the public and help government agencies in channelling hazard funding.
f) The project will train young researchers in advanced analytical and experimental techniques and will enable them to train the next generation of Malaysian and UK researchers.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description A numerical tool for analysing soil-atmosphere interaction in slopes in tropical soils has been developed. Two testing sites in Malaysia were selected and instrumented with sensors to measure the soil movements resulted from changes in its moisture contents. The numerical tools and the site monitoring aim to understand the hydrometeorological impacts on slope stability.
Exploitation Route In this project, we work closely with the Public Works Department and the National Disaster Management Agency NADMA (part of the Malaysia Prime Minister's Office) on producing hazard maps, which will help in identification vulnerable people, planning pre- and post-disaster interventions and help government agencies in channelling hazard funding.
Sectors Construction